OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — This week you have the opportunity to do something good for our community. Share Omaha is launching its first-ever "Do Good Week."
That means there is a chance to step up for the hundreds of nonprofit organizations that have stepped up for so many metro area residents during this pandemic.
Omaha Home for Boys is just one of the many nonprofits that have been working overtime during this pandemic.
Gage Gano knows what it's like to hit rock bottom.
"I was an habitual drug user. I would do almost any drug that I can get my hands on and I was very deep into alcoholism," Gano recalled.
He also had legal trouble. His probation officer told him about a transitional housing program at OHB called Jacob's Place.
"She was like, it teaches you discipline, they teach you how to save, many useful skills, if you want to go to college they'll set you up for that," Gano said.
Running out of options, he tried it.
"They always push you to do better," Gano shared.
Brandy Gustoff, the Chief Programming Officer at OHB, says that's the purpose.
"To work with young people and families. We want to help them better themselves and become independent whether that be with housing or education. Our whole goal is to help a young person improve their circumstances," Gustoff said.
They work with youth from different walks of life.
"Some single parents, we also see a lot of poverty, we see young people involved in the judicial system as well as wards of the state," said Gustoff.
Clients all face a similar challenge.
"Young people who are really lacking support and that ability to get their needs met," she added.
During the COVID-19 crisis, those needs escalated.
"We saw a lot of young people lose employment, which meant they couldn't pay their rent ...They couldn't pay for their doctor appointments," Gustoff said.
One of the ways OHB has stepped up during this pandemic is to provide emergency food to youth and their families.
Now its focus is mental health.
"Mental health has been a big issue because of that social isolation as well as the feelings it creates when you can't provide for yourself when you've been providing for your food, your rent, your supplies and now you're relying on someone else," Gustoff explained. "From mental health to housing to food, clothing we really stepped up and even now we're still our young people get their needs met."
Marjorie Mass, Executive Director of Share Omaha says that's just what non-profits do.
"We believe nonprofits are the dynamic circle that holds this community together. They fill in the gaps, they address issues that nobody else can and they have been hit hard in 2020," Mass said.
So this Do Good week, Share Omaha wants to show them some love.
"They are clamoring for in-kind durable goods, they're clamoring for new volunteers, of course cash and new donors," Mass said.
Without nonprofits like OHB...
"Honestly, I would imagine myself dead. I really would," Gano admitted.
Gage says he wouldn't be here.
Now he is drug-free, employed and will graduate from the program in six months.
"They strive for you to be happy and they help you in any way, shape or form to do that and it's amazing. If ever I find myself in the dumps there's always someone to talk to," he said.
There are nearly 600 nonprofit organizations you can help this "Do Good Week." To see how you can donate your time, resources or dollars go to ShareOmaha.org.